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4370 Student Discipline Hearing Procedures

Administrative Hearings for Long Term Suspensions (more than 10 days up to 365 days) and Expulsions

The rules below will govern hearings held by the Hearing Panel. The superintendent will appoint a hearing officer.  The hearing officer will appoint a hearing panel which shall consist of  three other individuals that have knowledge of the policies and procedures governing the Administrative Hearing Process as well as the ability to analyze evidence of misbehavior and appropriate consequences. Members of the Hearing Panel shall not be under the direct supervision of the principal making the recommendation for Long Term Suspension, 365 day suspension or Expulsion. 

1. The hearing will be conducted in private and will be audio recorded by the school district.  The student or student representative may also audio record the meeting. 

2.  Prior to the hearing, the student and his or her parents and representative will have an opportunity to review any audio or video recordings of the incident and, consistent with federal and state student records laws and regulations, the information that may be presented as evidence against the student, including statements made by witnesses whose names are withheld in accordance with number 5, below.

3. In addition to theHearing Panel, the hearing may be attended by the superintendent, the principal and/or assistant administrators, and any persons the hearing officer deems necessary. The student has the right to be present at the hearing, to be accompanied by his or her parents, and to be represented by an attorney or non-attorney advocate. Witnesses should be present only when providing information.

4. The school representatives have the burden of proving the misbehavior occurred resulting in a violation of board policy, the Code of Student Conduct, school standards or rules; and the appropriateness of the recommended consequence for the violation.

5.  The school representatives shall present the witnesses and documented evidence against the student first. School officials may withhold witness names or other identifying information if identification of a witness could threaten the witness's safety.

6.  After the school representatives have presented their evidence, the student or his or her representative may present evidence relating to the alleged disciplinary infraction, the student's intent at the time of the incident, any mitigating or aggravating factors involved, the disciplinary and academic history of the student, and the potential benefits to the student of alternatives to suspension. Such evidence may include oral testimony by the student or witnesses, written statements and other documents.

7. Both the school representatives and the student or his or her parent or representative may examine the witnesses presented by the other side. The Hearing Officer has the authority to limit questioning by any person if such questioning is unproductive, unnecessarily lengthy, repetitive or irrelevant.

8.  In reaching a determination in the matter, the Hearing Panel shall consider any school records of the student presented at the hearing, but such records should be considered only for impeachment or corroboration or as bearing upon the appropriate punishment and not as evidence of guilt of a charge. No school record may be considered for any purpose unless it has first been made available to the student or his or her representative.

9.  The Hearing Panel shall also consider the other documents produced in the hearing and testimony of the witnesses and other evidence presented at the hearing. The panel shall determine the relevant facts and credibility of witnesses based on the evidence presented at the hearing. Formal rules of evidence do not apply, and the Hearing Committee may rely on evidence that a reasonably prudent person would consider in the conduct of serious affairs.

10. Following all testimony and evidence on the part of the school district and that of the student, those presenting to the Hearing Committee are excused from the hearing.  At this time, the recording of the hearing shall be stopped. 

11.  The Hearing Panel shall make and record two determinations to be shared with the superintendent:  The panel shall determine if a violation occurred.  If the panel determines that a violation occurred, the panel shall also determine the appropriateness of the recommended consequences for the violation. The panel may make recommendations, including possible modifications of the consequences, to the Superintendent as a part of their findings based on the information presented at the hearing. 

12. The Hearing Panel shall provide the Hearing Officer their written decisions for the purposes of making a record of the hearing, including any determinations made by the panel.  The Hearing Officer shall deliver the Hearing Panel’s findings to the Superintendent. Following the hearing, the superintendent shall render a written decision based upon those findings and may consider any recommendations of the Hearing Panel. The superintendent shall adopt the panel's factual determinations unless they are not supported by substantial evidence in the record.

13. The superintendent shall notify the student and parent of the final decision in accordance with the requirements of policy 4353, Long-Term Suspension, 365-Day Suspension, Expulsion.

Board Hearings for Long Term Suspensions (more than 10 days up to 365 days) and Expulsions

1. Board decision on Long Term Suspensions (more than 10 days up to 365 days)

The student or parent must appeal to the Board in writing within two (2) days of receiving the Superintendent’s decision. The board will provide the opportunity for a hearing that follows the procedures established for administrative hearings, except that (1) the superintendent or designee will represent the school system and the board or a panel of the board will be the decision maker and (2) unless the board requests otherwise or doing so would create a substantial threat of unfairness, the board will limit presentations of testimony to the student, the student's parent and representative, and the school system's representative and will limit documentation to the records and evidence produced at the administrative hearing. The board, at its discretion, may request additional information or evidence.

The board will review any records created by the superintendent's decision and the record created from any administrative hearing held. The board will review the superintendent's decision to be sure that: (1) there was a reasonable basis for determining that the student engaged in the specified misbehavior; (2) a board policy, the Code of Student Conduct, a school standard or school rule was violated; (3) the consequence for the violation was reasonable; and (4) procedures established by board policy were followed.

2. Board Decision on Expulsion

The board will provide an opportunity for a hearing to review the superintendent's recommendation for expulsion. The rules established for the administrative hearing will be followed, except that the superintendent or designee will represent the school system and the board will be the decision maker. The board may request additional records or witnesses. A decision will be made on the superintendent's recommendation following the standards for expulsion established in policy 4353, Long-Term Suspension, 365-Day Suspension, Expulsion.

Appeals to the Board must be in writing and filed with the Superintendent within five (5) business days of the sending of notice to the Parent of the Superintendent’s decision following the hearing before the Hearing Panel. Only one (1) continuance will be granted absent extraordinary circumstances. The penalty imposed need not be postponed pending the outcome of the appeal to the Board. Such an appeal shall be on the record made before the Hearing Panel, and new evidence will be admitted only to avoid a substantial threat of unfairness.

The Board shall affirm, modify, or reverse the Superintendent’s decision. A decision by the Board is final, subject to judicial review pursuant to N.C.G.S. §115C-390.8(i). The Board shall hear and decide the student’s appeal within 30 days of the student’s request for an appeal, unless an extension of time is consented to by the student’s Parent or representative. Untimely appeals will be heard by the Board as soon as convenient for the Board and the 30 day time limit for a hearing decision will not apply to late filed appeals to the Board.

Legal References:
G.S. 115C-45, 47, -276, -288, -390.1, -390.2, -390.7, -390.8
Cross References:
Long-Term Suspension, 365-Day Suspension, Expulsion (policy 4353)
Monday, 13 June 2011
Last Updated:
Tuesday, 14 January 2020